In the Proclamation signed by President Trump on June 22, 2020, he suspended the issuance of certain categories of H1-B, L1 and J1 visas until the end of this year. In an update to the Proclamation, he amended one of the clauses to be very specific of the kind of non-immigrant visas that will be permissible into the United States post June 24, 2020.
In the Proclamation Amendment it is ascertained that the non-immigrant visa that the beneficiary is trying to enter with should be a valid H1-B, H2-B, L1 or J1 visa.
What This Proclamation Amendment Means?
- The original Visa Ban said that anyone who had a valid non-immigrant visa before June 24, 2020 can enter the US.
- The Amendment specifies that one can not enter the United States if you didn’t have a valid visa in the above mentioned categories.
- If someone is in the US on a valid B1/B2 visa, he may not apply for an H1-B or L1 visa even if he is in the United States by June 24, 2020.
- H4 dependent visas meant for the above categories of work visas will continue being issued if the primary H1-B beneficiary has a valid work visa by June 24, 2020.
- K1 and F1 visa holders are not affected by this Proclamation.
Citing the need to address the growing unemployment in the United States due to the spread of the deadly Coronavirus, the US government will not allow entry of anyone seeking a new or renewal of an H1-B visa. This is applicable to all corresponding dependent H4 visa holders as well.
This new immigration ban will affect close to 525,000 potential skilled workers coming to the US.
The new proclamation signed by the US President also mentions the Executive Order he had signed in April 2020. The 60-day ban of green card holders into the US has now been extended until December 31, 2020.
Who Does This Proclamation Impact?
Effective starting tonight at 11.59 pm, this suspension of non-immigrant visa issuance is applicable to –
- H1-B: skilled foreign worker visas
- H2-B: seasonal worker visas
- J1: cultural & work exchange visas and
- L1: intra-company transfer visas
Exceptions To The Foreign Worker Visa Suspension
While some of the most prominent work visas have been impacted, there are some exceptions to those that might be deemed essential to national interest. These include non-immigrant workers already in the US –
- H2-B Seasonal workers in the food industry
- Petitioners applying for Change of Status within the US
- Employment-based Green Card holders/PERM applicants
- F1 international student visa holders
- Immediate dependents of US citizens including spouse and children
- Those selected in the H1-B 2021 lottery and changing status from F1 to H1-B
Other Changes Expected, Per Proclamation
There are additional changes expected to be fine-tuned in the next couple of weeks and implemented by August 2020 –
- Exponentially raising the H1-B filing fees
- Increasing the minimum base wage for H1-B visa holders
- Drastic changes to redefine Specialty Occupation
- Restrictions to h1-B issuance to Outsourcing companies like TCS, Infosys & Wipro
- Denying work permits for asylum seekers at the border
- Deny work permits for those committing crimes – over 50,000/year